Quote of the Day (R. Joseph Hoffmann)

Mythicism is not so much a conspiracy theory as a mass of cobbled  improbabilities that can only be compared to explaining the existence of a discovery by postulating that the scientist credited with  formulating it was really created by a mad scientist who invented the first and a  third who created the one who created him.  This is comparatively easy to do when all you have is the theory and an opinion about it.  After a dozen mad scientists have been postulated, however, you must ask where reality lies.  For mythicists, it seems, it doesn’t really exist anywhere. It certainly doesn’t exist anywhere near where the evidence points, and to think otherwise sullies your credentials as a skeptic.

R. Joseph Hoffmann, ““Born of a Woman”: Paul’s Perfect Victim and the Historical Jesus”

I think that later in the piece Hoffmann reads far too much of later Jewish polemic against Christians into Galatians 4:4. But that doesn’t affect his points about mythicism. Click through to take a look for yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brettongarcia Bretton Garcia

    Wonder why Hoffmann has never had a secure, tenured appointment at any upper tier university.

    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Care to share what you think is wrong with liberal arts colleges? Many of us think that they are excellent places to work, as well as to study.

  • http://vridar.wordpress.com Neil Godfrey

    This is quite funny. It is clear that what impresses the historicist choir is colorful rhetoric and vitriol. McGrath has long given up any pretence of seriously tackling any mythicist argument as far as I can recall. Ex-quasi-mythicist Hoffmann is now writing like a gay basher trying to deny his own homosexual tendencies. One month he says Goguel’s arguments are worthless and easily refuted and another month he says even arguments far inferior to Goguel’s demolished mythicism long ago.

    On the other hand, mythicists simply get on with the job of serious argument and reviews, seriously engaging the scholarly literature, identifying fallacies and incompetence where they exist, using genuine argument and citations, and steadily working to build a case according to the rules of fundamental logic. Hoffmann knows very well that Wells, Price, Thompson, Doherty, and a raft of others have never touched any notion of conspiracy with a 40 foot pole.

    Certain historicists, on the other hand, have been shown time and again to have been lazy, incompetent, without any nous for logic, liable to tell porkies about what they have read, and even that JFM himself is a conspiracy theorist.

    Even the evolutionary scientists like Coyne and Myers with whom these pretentious theologians like to equate themselves professionally can see through their hocus pocus. (Their view of evolution is like that of the person who believes TV sets work by circuits and things but that there is still a little man inside them making it all work just right.)

    With the recent efforts from the three processed cheeses and bart ehrman taking up the crusade against mythicism it really does look like the anti-mythicists are singing their swan-song.

    • Claude

      Not to dispute that mythicists rescue kittens and walk little old ladies across the street when they’re not being very, very serious about logic, but only to note that I enjoyed the self-parody. Well done.

    • GakuseiDon

      Neil Godfrey: On the other hand, mythicists simply get on with the job of serious
      argument and reviews, seriously engaging the scholarly literature,
      identifying fallacies and incompetence where they exist, using genuine
      argument and citations, and steadily working to build a case according
      to the rules of fundamental logic. Hoffmann knows very well that Wells,
      Price, Thompson, Doherty, and a raft of others have never touched any
      notion of conspiracy with a 40 foot pole.

      What about Earl Doherty’s overwhelmingly positive review of Acharya S’s “The Christ Conspiracy”? He gave it 5 stars out of 5. This is what Doherty wrote about her horrible horrible book:
      http://www.amazon.com/review/R2QE1LGGUKNCZ6

      There are those who have expressed some uncertainty about the
      scholarship which originally presented some of the subject matter dealt
      with in this book, since much of it comes from the 19th and early 20th
      centuries. But there is a prominent reason why today’s researcher is
      inevitably thrown back on this early period of investigation. The
      so-called History of Religions School was a feature of that period,
      represented by such luminaries as Reitzenstein, Bousset and Cumont, and
      other, less famous scholars. Its conclusions about the relation of
      Christianity to the thought and religious expression of the time,
      especially in regard to the mystery cults and even solar mythology,
      proved very unpalatable to mainstream New Testament study. That was
      also the period of intense examination of the idea that no Jesus had
      existed at all (J. M. Robertson, Arthur Drews, the Dutch Radical
      School, etc.). The result was a backlash and a circling of the wagons,
      creating a fortress mentality against such scholarship for the latter
      three-quarters of the 20th century.

      Neil, do you believe that mainstream scholarship “circled the wagons” and created a “fortress mentality” against mythicism? Is there a “fortress mentality” in modern scholarship that is stopping (for example) Acharya S from getting the respect that she deserves?

      • http://vridar.wordpress.com Neil Godfrey

        Don, you are once again demonstrating your inability to comprehend a flow of thought. Once again this seems to be the result of your imposing a hostile interpretation despite the actual words themselves simply not lending themselves to what you are suggesting.

        Yes, I do think (‘believe’ is too strong a term) that there has been a fortress mentality and circling of the wagons as Doherty has indicated.

        But you are twisting Doherty’s words in your usual style when you try to imply that he is saying that this mentality is stopping Acharya S (not “for example” — say what you mean: “in particular”!) being heard.

        What Doherty wrote was this: “Acharya may draw to some degree on that older scholarship, but while certain aspects of it are necessarily a little dated, one of the things which struck me in her quotations from it (and more and more of it is now being reprinted) is how perceptive and compelling most of it continues to be. We sorely need a new History of Religions School for the 21st century, to apply modern techniques to this important ancient material. Perhaps this book will help bring that about.”

        Notice Doherty is referring to some of the scholarship upon which Acharya draws. He is discussing the need for a new History of Religions school — something that we don’t have.

        I also find your phrasing “getting the respect that she deserves” disingenuous. Everyone deserves respect as a person. But that is not what Doherty was addressing, and he was not saying that A.S.’s book is being kept out of the academy because of a circling of the wagons.

        You talk with a sly and not very straight tongue, GDon.

        • GakuseiDon

          Neil, you write above that “that there has been a fortress mentality and circling of the wagons as Doherty has indicated.”

          This implies that academia is aware of mythicist views, and are to some extent threatened by them, if not under siege by them. Doesn’t that at least suggest a notion of conspiracy?

          I don’t think there is any evidence of a circling of wagons. IIRC Ehrman himself writes he had barely heard of mythicism until recently, despite many years of research in the field. Obviously there is no need to circle wagons if you don’t feel under attack.

          You wrote, “Hoffmann knows very well that Wells, Price, Thompson, Doherty, and a raft of others have never touched any notion of conspiracy with a 40 foot pole. “

          Isn’t “fortress mentality” and “circling of the wagons” consistent with a “notion of conspiracy”? Can you explain how modern scholarship over the last 100 years have “circled the wagons” against mythicist theories? Is this a conscious “circling of wagons” or a subconcious one?

          • http://vridar.wordpress.com Neil Godfrey

            Oh my goodness “Don”. You have conspiracy on the brain. Please get a transplant! No, a fortress mentality does NOT imply conspiracy. Get real. Ehrman hasn’t gone on the defensive over mythicism? Oh come on. Stop playing your silly semantic hair splitting games.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

              to say Ehrman is on the defensive about mythicism and is demonstrating a fortress mentality is like saying Tom V. has a fortress mentality against alien astronaut theories. Ehrman noticed a lot of people that he aims his books at, atheist, werre falling for this pop-history and he wrote a book explaining why its a dumb idea. No fortress, he doesn’t even seem like he was much aware that there were any mythicist before recently.

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ VinnyJH

    Reading later understandings back into Galatians can be a problem.

  • http://digestofworms.blogspot.com/ admiralmattbar

    Sorry that I came late to this comment section. I only post this here because I haven’t seen it before on this blog and it relates to mythicism.
    http://thebeatlesneverexisted.com/

    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I saw the site, and now it won’t load. It is as though “The Beatles Never Existed” never existed…


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